Geologic Interpretation of the Acoustic Data Collected During National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Survey H11361 (H11361_INTERP.SHP, Geographic)

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Description The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection, has produced detailed geologic maps of the sea floor in Long Island Sound, a major East Coast estuary surrounded by the most densely populated region of the United States. These studies have built upon cooperative research with the State of Connecticut that was initiated in 1982. The current phase of this research program is directed toward studies of sea-floor sediment distribution, processes that control sediment distribution, nearshore environmental concerns, and the relation of benthic community structures to the sea-floor geology. Anthropogenic wastes, toxic chemicals, and changes in land-use patterns resulting from residential, commercial, and recreational development have stressed the environment of the Sound, causing degradation and potential loss of benthic habitats (Koppelman and others, 1976; Long Island Sound Study, 1994). Detailed maps of the sea floor are needed to help evaluate the extent of adverse impacts and to help manage resources wisely in the future. Therefore, in a continuing effort to better understand Long Island Sound, we have constructed and interpreted multibeam bathymetric data within specific areas of special interest. The geologic interpretation of the acoustic data from survey H11361 in Geographic presented herein covers a roughly 92 km square area of the sea floor in the area just west of Six Mile Reef, eastern Long Island Sound. The original multibeam bathymetric data were collected during 2004 as part of charting applications aboard the NOAA Survey Vessel Thomas Jefferson. A Simrad EM1002 multibeam system mounted on the hull of this vessel was used to acquire data along survey lines from the deeper water (>20 m) parts of the study area. Two 29-foot launches with hull-mounted Reson systems were deployed from the ship and were used to acquire data along survey lines from the shallower areas. Detailed bathymetric data and their interpretations serve many purposes, including: (1) defining the geological variability of the sea floor, which is one of the primary controls of benthic habitat diversity; (2) improving our understanding of the processes that control the distribution and transport of bottom sediments and the distribution of benthic habitats and associated infaunal community structures; and (3) providing a detailed framework for future research, monitoring, and management activities. The bathymetric data models also serve as base maps for subsequent sedimentological, geochemical, and biological observations, because precise information on environmental setting is important for selection of sampling sites and for accurate interpretation of point measurements. [More]
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